Chief Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, former first lady, John Kayode Fayemi, former Governor, Sen Hadi Sirika, Aviation Minister cutting the tape, Mr Zhang Zichen, Chairman, CCECC, the firm building the airport. Saturday 15th October 2022.
The commissioning of the Ekiti State International Airport was part of the valedictory task that the former state Governor, John Kayode Fayemi, performed on Saturday 15th October 2022.
Sen Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation performed its inauguration. The minister cut the tape to declare the facility safe, secure, comfortable and in total compliance with all regulatory conditionalities for safe and economic operations in airlifting of passengers and cargo.
Although top-ranking management staff of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, were not conspicuous at the event over the weekend, the commissioning by the person of the minister signifies that all is well for safe operation.
While commissioning the facility, the Minister said the airport will be instrumental in boosting international trade for the state. It will enable the export of numerous agro products which Ekiti state is noted for their abundant production.
John Kayode Fayemi, who relinquished office less than 24 hours after the inauguration of the airport was full of excitement at the commissioning of the facility.
He reminded his guests of how the COVID-19 pandemic posed a serious threat to the project and how he was resolute and determined to see the airport project to fruition despite the meagre resources of the state.
The former Governor said the airport will cater for agro-allied products export and for passengers who will be requiring commercial schedule airliners the airport would service.
However, an uncanny glance at the façade of the terminal reveals there remain a lot of hurdles to surmount if the airport is to be used for any of the purposes its promoters said the facility will serve.
A glance at the 3.2-kilometre runway reveals work in progress. The terminal building construction is still in progress. Not to talk of the taxiway, apron and parking bay for aircraft.
The former Governor, Kayode Fayemi, in his verified Twitter handle, @kfayemi announced the attributes embedded in the terminal that will make modern aircraft welcomed at the airport
@kfayemi tweeted about the airport configuration thus, “It is of a world-class standard. Being a category 4E airport, this means we can accommodate large cargo – Aircraft”.
On another occasion, Kayode Fayemi tweeted, “the Cargo Apron, 155m x 128m. Can conveniently accommodate two 747-400. The passenger apron 137m x 100.5m can also accommodate three Boeing 737”.
On the length of the runway, @kfayemi tweeted, “the runway length is 3.2km, the width is 60m (45m full length and 7.5m each at the shoulders). The terminal building is built to operate and process international and domestic passengers,” the former Governor claimed.
SUMMARY OF AIRPORT CONFIGURATION
Airport Class: 4E
Airport Structure: For cargo and passenger operations
Apron Size Cargo: 155m x 128m
Apron Size Passenger: 137m x100.5m
Runway Length: 3.2km
Runway Width: 60m
(45m full length and 7.5m each at the shoulders)
Immediately after the commissioning on Saturday, 15th October 2022, aviation minister, Hadi Sirika, in his verified Twitter handle @hadisirika announced thus, “I have the honour of Commissioning Ekiti Airport this morning. With Nostalgia, I remember laying the foundation in October 2019.
Well done John Kayode Fayemi. To God be the glory.”
GLIMPSE OF REGULATORY AUTHORITY SANCTION ON THE HORIZON
A cursory check on the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA’s official website for the inclusion of Ekiti Agro Cargo Airport among the approved airports in Nigeria is yet to prove successful.
Succinctly put, it can be safely and logically assumed the regulatory authority, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, had advised the Aviation Minister that all is well with the John Kayode Fayemi International Airport, Ado-Ekiti, for cargo and passenger operations.
Also, the safe landing and take-off of the NAF aircraft signified the presence of air navigation service providers and numerous navaids already installed in the trenches around the airport and in the miniature tower.
INAUGURAL FLIGHT BY A MILITARY AIRCRAFT, HOW MUCH CONFIDENCE DOES IT INVOKE?
Industry players have noted that the inaugural flight was done with the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, with an ATR aircraft. Questions are agog on social media if the NAF will be launching, or by that flight, NAF has commenced commercial operation.
What a healthy(?) competition with members of the Airlines Operators of Nigeria, AON, whose none of its members could be persuaded to add that route to its operations schedule. Or to even conduct the ceremonial inaugural flight to the terminal while other formalities would later follow.
Since a new Governor was sworn in barely 24 hours ago, stakeholders and the general public are watching with keen interest what will become of the billions of Naira already sunk into that terminal.
Will the investment be put to good use? Will the facility serve social needs? Or will it serve economic needs and the fund sunk therein be made to count?Share